Review: Devices, Apps Act Like One Under iOS 8

The scores of new features in Apple's software update for mobile devices can be boiled down to one word: unity. Many iPhone owners also have iPads and Mac computers, and family members are likely to have Apple devices, too. With the new iOS 8 software for iPhones and iPads, those devices start to act like one. Apps on those devices start to unite, too.

Google's Android software can't compete with iOS' evolving unity because so many different companies manufacture Android devices, and each adds its own variables. Apple knows what goes into the few products it makes and can break down the walls between them.

The free update is available to owners of iPhone and iPad models going back to 2011, though older devices won't get all the new features. The new software will also come with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which come out Friday.

Here's a look at those "unity" features -- and why iOS 8 is worth installing:

-- You can start tasks on one device and finish on another.

Let's say you're typing an email reply on your iPhone when you realize the message will be quite lengthy. You can pick up your iPad and finish there. With the upcoming Yosemite update for Mac computers, liking coming next month, you'll be able to use the Mac's physical keyboard, too.

Picking up a task on a second device is easy. Just slide up the small app icon on that device's lock screen, be it an iPhone or an iPad. On Macs with Yosemite, click the icon on the bottom left.

For now, this capability is limited to a handful of apps, including Apple's Maps, Calendar, Mail, Messages and the Safari Web browser. And when you try to open a Web page on a second device, you still have to scroll down to...

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